When Florida’s Copeland first emerged in the new millennium, they were often referred to as Coldplay knockoffs, which really slights Aaron Marsh and his mid-tempo crew of revelers, as they didn’t create drab piano ditties; just straight-up mature pop. Yet as the years have gone on, the band has shown little growth beyond their template Brit-ballad sound, and following 2006’s forgettable Eat, Sleep, Repeat and a stop-gap rarities comp in 2007, they remerged late last year with You Are My Sunshine, a somewhat buoyant record that gets weighed down by its surprising overuse of a vocoder. Yes, T-Pain would be jealous, but the use of the famed voice modulator distracts from the solid songs that Marsh has crafted, most of which bleed together over the course of the disc, but—when isolated outside of the context of the album—they exhibit real potential.
The best of the bunch is “On the Safest Ledge”, a simple stunner with a rising pre-chorus crescendo that outstrips the 10+ minute closing ballad “Not So Tough Found Out” in a heartbeat. Though Sunshine is a perfectly fine if unremarkable record by itself, there are no genuine moments of fun to be seen or even stylistic detours to be had, as the band gets too caught up in their own sense of self-importance. Though the warmer keyboard tones do show slight signs of textural evolution, a full-scale songwriting overhaul will be needed if the band wants to remain relevant in the future, because—right now—being their same-old generic selves just isn’t working out.
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// Notes from the Road
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